Highways

An album by Fernie Canto

Album cover

All songs written, arranged and produced by Fernie Canto

Artwork (concept and execution) by Fernie Canto

All tracks here are available in 24bit/44100Hz FLAC and 320kbps MP3 formats. The FLAC files should play gaplessly.

Side A
1. Raging Yellow 2:04
(sun)
2. Blue and Grey 5:36
(motion)
3. Tranquility, at Last 4:51
(lagoon)
4. Passing Time 4:08
(billboards)
5. Lone Rider 2:42
(curves)
6. Passing Time 1:26
(pastures)
7. Warm Breeze 3:43
(branches)
8. A Landscape in Red 5:18
(hills)
Side B
1. Fade 2:21
(horizon)
2. Somewhat Late 6:56
(sky)
3. Black and Grey 0:45
(stars)
4. Silvery Light 6:04
(headlights)
5. A Landscape in Black 1:50
(motionless)
6. Throttle 4:32
(stripes)
7. Flow 5:27
(roadsigns)
8. Tranquility Again 2:57
(bridges)
Contact: cfern[dot]canto[at]gmail[dot]com

The story of this album spans at least 8 years.

It started way back when I was putting music online on a GeoCities website on MIDI format, and when I recorded those same files directly from a MIDI editor using the generic GM sounds through an audio cable plugged in a stereo into a cassette tape. It's amazing how things change: there was a time when I thought those tinny, hollow, buzzy sounds actually qualified as a finished product. After a while, I replaced one of the tracks, recorded the instruments as actual audio files (using the same generic GM synth), added some assorted sounds recorded through a mic, and released it as an MP3 album. And that's the way it remained until I realised I had grown out of that kind of stuff into much more polished and, let's say, “professional” material.

Yet, I still liked these songs. The songs, not the finished tracks. I liked the melodies, their concept and what they represented. Let me explain: In the late 90's, or so, I discovered the amazing world of mixtapes, which were surprisingly easy to do once I had a (borrowed) stereo with both a CD player and a cassette deck, a handful of CDs and a load of patience — and time — to sort out the tracks I liked. I recorded those specifically for roadtrips, during summer, when the family spent the month of February on the beach (remember — this is the Southern hemisphere!). Soon enough, I noticed the unusual fact that some songs were uncannily appropriate for roadtrips; something about the constant motion, the feeling of contained freedom, the landscapes, the curves and the highway stripes somehow “asked” for certain songs. I became horribly obsessed with “mixtapes for highways” for many a year, even sorting out the songs by the time of the day they matched (there were “day” songs and “night” songs — I stopped before I started picking out the “morning” songs, the “rainy day” songs, the “just before sunset” songs and so on), until I noticed that I had already been playing with MIDI editing programs on the PC and asked myself: was I capable of writing an entire album of songs for highways?

I started penning the sort of tunes I would like to hear on a roadtrip, separating them by time of the day. Somehow, the inspiration just kept coming; the songs were coming out steadily and nicely. As soon as I noticed that there were “day” songs and “night” songs, I figured I could make the album flow according to the passage of a day, and so the process went on quite quickly. Keep in mind: I was pretty much crossing-over Kraftwerk's Autobahn with the Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed, without having heard either of those albums. I'm not boasting — this thing was done out of pure naïvety and pleasure. And this, I think, is what kept attracting me to these tunes: they felt pure, enjoyable, uplifting. And I still have a very strong fondness of the “music for roadtrips” thing, though I eventually abandoned the mixtapes. Honestly, I felt this album needed a second chance.

Do not think, though, of this record as a “remake”, a “new edition”, a “rerecording” or anything like that: this is a true “scrap it all and let's do this properly” project, a complete demolition of the old building and the construction of a new one. Think of the earlier recording as a sketch, a blueprint, a first draft: this is the finished package. There are a few new tracks, the instruments were all entirely rerecorded using new software, the arrangements were changed when necessary, and the track order was also altered (matter of fact, side A of this album is how the original should have been — tracks 6 and 7 were only relegated to side 2 because I wouldn't have enough material to fill it otherwise). Keep in mind, though, that the music is not completely brand new. I didn't want to change just for the sake of changing; the changes were brought in when they were necessary. Some genuinely bad bits were redone, some new quirks were added for diversity, and all the hollow bits were filled in with tasty niftiness.

This is not a project of nostalgic self-indulgence, of trying to forgive the mistakes of the past: this is a genuine attempt at making a good, solid album, which can be enjoyed both by the few people who listened to the old album, and by people who never even heard about it. This is Highways, a brand new offering, a completely new album, and the next in a series of official, genuine products, published here for free and for the enjoyment of all.

With sincere thanks to Isis Porto, my parents and all the people who gave me good memories along my life.
WARNING: There are no warnings to be made
Creative Commons License
Highways by Fernie Canto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Brazil License.
Based on a work at www.ferniecanto.com.br.